HOUSTON — Two remarkable streaks were extended on Saturday, with James Harden scoring at least 30 points in his 29th consecutive game and Russell Westbrook recording a triple-double in his ninth straight game.
Harden had 25 points in the first half and finished with 42 on 11-of-28 shooting. It’s his 21st 40-point game this season; no other player has more than seven. Harden is now two 30-point games away from tying Wilt Chamberlain for the second-longest 30-point streak in NBA history. He’s 36 games away from tying Chamberlain for the longest streak ever.
Harden saw a variety of Thunder defenders, with fellow MVP candidate Paul George (45 points on 12-of-22 shooting) taking the bulk of the load.
“It was a pretty good matchup against Harden,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “It was pretty fun, until they beat us.”
Westbrook finished with 21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists, plus had the game-winning bucket and game-winning stop. With 30 seconds left, he knifed through a double-team and finished an uncontested layup to put the Thunder up one.
“Actually, I’d been seeing it all game,” Westbrook said, “so just waiting on the right time to use it.”
Westbrook has 22 triple-doubles this season, and for a third straight campaign is averaging a triple-double. Two seasons ago, he became the first player since Oscar Robertson in 1962 to average a triple-double, and second ever to do it.
“It’s not even surprising no more,” Thunder guard Terrance Ferguson said of Westbrook. “I see him do it all the time, and the type of player he is, it’s so easy for him. You don’t even notice it, but it’s there. He gets everybody involved, he’s a great leader so to see nine straight triple-doubles, what is that like a record or something?”
On Thursday, Westbrook passed both Michael Jordan and himself for eight straight triple-doubles, the longest streak since Chamberlain had nine straight in 1968. He tied Chamberlain on Saturday and can stand alone with the longest streak in NBA history on Monday against the Trail Blazers.